Yes I was planning to watch episode 7 of 'The OA' tomorrow, but... with how short episode 6 was, I'm changing my plans, and this is my review 'Empire of Light'!
THE GIRL WITH THREE NAMES
And we’re back today with episode seven of the OA, titled ‘Empire of Light’ and while the previous episode ‘Forking Paths’ focused on HAP and stuff in the path, this episode was set entirely in the present and everything coming to ahead… particularly for Steve.
Back when I watched the first episode, it was clear Steve would go through some character growth and he has, in this episode we see that he has certainly changed. He ‘gets with’ the girl in the Alternate learning class, it’s revealed he’s the only helping the others learn the movements, since he wants to be a personal trainer its clear he has insight in how to help others when they can’t do something right, he’s openly friendly with the rest of the group, even given Buck a headlock hug when she gives him part of protein bar she got from French. When the stuff of the kid he punched in the throat comes to light, he wants to own up to it… and when he’s taken to Asheville, we see him frighten and scared. The good fortune of Mrs. BBA with her 50,000 comes into play as she uses it to buy Steve’s freedom, and in his totally understandable fragile state, he snaps at Prairie, he’s totally terrified… he even stabs her with a pencil, but she just hugs and holds him, lets him break down, being something he hasn’t had someone to let him just be get it out. This was really well handled in this episode, cause prior to meeting Prairie, there is no way Steve would just break down the way he did.
Speaking of breaking, while Able Johnson seems to be more than keen with Prairie’s progress, Nancy seems a little to eager to want to medicate her again and her all fears and delusions when they go out for a family dinner come bursting out, when a random girl takes a selfie with Prairie, and implying she was ‘beaten and raped’ repeatedly. Prairie does try to tell Nancy what really happened and what the scars are… but gets slapped for it! But we did learn that OA stands for Original Angel.
French plays a big part in this episode, since he works at the restaurant where the Johnsons and Prairie went to, he gets Prairie out of her and points out some facts, that she has told them all these things about her childhood, her ordeal and the other angels… but she didn’t really tell them about Nancy and Able. Prairie does have a bit of resentment towards them because they medicated her, but French figures that they are part of why she is there, because she could’ve gone to be with Khatun and her Father.
Doubling back a bit to Ms. BBA, her seeing Steve being taken and deciding to act to rescue him, trying to come up with an over the top plan for him to say the Asheville goons are ‘doing bad things to him’ was unintentional funny, but under the circumstances, one could say that prior to meeting Prairie, Ms. BBA wouldn’t have tried to help Steve out.
That said Buck and Jesse are very underdeveloped as characters which is a shame.
Without question the stand out performance in this episode goes to Patrick Gibson as Steve, the gauntlet of character development and scenes he had to deal with extremely well performed.